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Position Papers

APS Guiding Principles for Pain Management

Pain is best understood through a biopsychosocial framework, and an assessment process identifying these pain contributors is essential. This applies to all pain; in particular, management of persistent pain should be based on a biopsychosocial approach.

The literature into the treatment and management of pain conditions consistently demonstrates that approaches addressing biopsychosocial contributors are more likely to be successful.  In some circumstances, a sole clinician may be able to address the breadth of pain contributors.  However, interdisciplinary care is the gold standard for the management of persisting pain, and is always encouraged.  The literature also shows that treatment approaches focusing only on reducing pain intensity are less likely to be successful than those also addressing pain-related distress and disability. A multidisciplinary team approach is more likely to deliver outcomes sought by the person experiencing pain.

Interdisciplinary care is more than simply having multiple professions.  Rather, it is the integration of knowledge, collaboration and shared expectations and goals by the team that defines its co-ordinated nature.  The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) defines interdisciplinary care as “a biopsychosocial approach to assessment and management that involves a team of health care professionals working closely together within a non-hierarchical framework”.

The Australian Pain Society recommends that all pain conditions be managed with treatment approaches aspiring to the provision of interdisciplinary care.

APS Board August 2017

APS Guiding Principles for Pain Management   Download

Position Papers / Guidelines from the Australian Pain Society

Approved Date Review Date Position Paper / Guideline Document
March, 2016 March, 2019 The Role of the Psychologist in the Management of Persistent Pain Download


Position Papers / Guidelines from Peer Organisations

Note: Where existing Position Papers are deemed as useful references by the APS Board, they will be referenced below rather than unnecessarily duplicating effort.

Approved Date Review Date Organisation Position Paper / Guideline Document
May, 2019   Palliative Care Australia

Sustainable access to prescription opioids for use in palliative care
(Endorsed by APS)


February, 2019   Faculty of Pain Medicine ANZCA PM10: Statement on "Medicinal Cannabis" with particular reference to its use in the management of patients with chronic non-cancer pain


February, 2018   International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) IASP Statement on Opioids


December, 2017   Australian Government, Department of Health, Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) Guidance for the use of medicinal cannabis in the treatment of chronic non-cancer pain in Australia


October, 2017   Royal Austalian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) Prescribing drugs of dependence in general practice
Part C1: Opioids
Part C2: The role of opioids in pain management
October, 2016    Royal Austalian College of General Practitioners (RACGP)  Medicinal use of cannabis products Weblink
June, 2015    Faculty of Pain Medicine ANZCA 

PM01: Recommendations regarding the use of Opioid Analgesics in patints with chronic Non-Cancer Pain

PM01 (Appendix 1) Quick reference recommendations for conduct of an Opioid Trial in Chronic Non-Cancer Pain

PM01 (Appendix 2) Opioid Dose Equivalence - Calculation of Oral Morphine Equivalent Daily Dose (oMEDD)

FPM/ANZCA Free Opioid Calculator App






April, 2015   NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation

Pain Management Programs - Which Patient for Which Program?



February, 2015 February, 2018 International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) Neuropathic Pain Special Interest Group (NeuPSIG) Pharmocotherapy for neuropathic pain in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis



December, 2013    Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN)  SIGN 136: Management of chronic pain, A national clinical guideline   Download
November, 2013 October, 2018 British Pain Society Guidelines for Pain Management Programmes for adults Weblink